Yes you do. We all do. We all know who Paul Goldschmidt is, and if you don’t, then you have no business being involved in fantasy baseball, plain and simple. The only reason for the headline was for the pure enjoyment of a good play-on-words. In fact, choosing which pun to use for the title was the hardest part of writing this article. Goldschmidt Sandwich? You’ve Got Some Goldschmidt on Your Face? Goldschmidt Happens? I Drafted The Best First Baseman in Fantasy Baseball and Took a Big Goldschmidt on the Rest of My League? The options are endless and the debate over which one is funnier is probably more complex than the debate over which first baseman is the best in fantasy baseball. It’s tough to argue against Zach Sanders’ ranking of Chris Davis as number one thanks to his power output this year, but looking forward, I’ll take Goldschmidt over him every chance I get.
Let’s just start with the numbers…
From a fantasy standpoint, Goldschmidt’s numbers are nothing short of spectacular. It’s beyond rare to get a five-tool fantasy guy at first base and when you do get one, you don’t ever let him go. Will the stolen bases continue as he gets older? Probably not. But the fact that he’s 26-years old and as big as he is (6-foot-3, 245 lbs), those 15 stolen bases are as huge as they are unexpected. As for the rest of the above numbers, well, they speak for themselves, don’ they? But what I love most about them is that there’s nothing about his numbers that indicates fluke or letdown the following year.
The improvements Goldschmidt made at the plate from 2012 to 2013 go beyond just his raw stats over which fantasy owners drool. He took a solid step forward in his plate discipline which, to me, is a testament to how great a hitter he is and how great he can be as he continues to mature at the major league level. Not only did he drop the strikeouts and increase his already tasty walk rate, but he also showed an improved batter’s eye indicated by a reduced swing rate that saw his Z-swing% stay close to the same as the year before while his O-swing% dropped nearly five-percent. We also saw a nice increase in his contact rate and a healthy drop in his swinging-strike rate.
In an attempt to try and be critical — so you don’t just view me as a guy wearing a “I Love Paul Goldschmidt” t-shirt proclaiming to be the #1 Goldschmidthead in America — I will point out the slight uptick in his ground ball rate and three-year drop in his fly-ball rate. The differences from year to year are relatively slight, but a drop in fly-ball rate doesn’t really work for power hitters in the long run. Do I see that as a potential red flag? No. Especially not when you’ve got the raw strength and power that Goldschmidt obviously has, which helps to muscle the ball over the fence. These nuances in the batted ball data will, more than likely, right themselves with another season at the plate.
Keeper league owners of Goldschmidt, rejoice! You’ve got yourself an amazing talent who will anchor your team’s power from the first base position for a number of years. And if you’re in a re-draft league, get ready to open your fantasy wallets. He was generally a fourth-rounder in most drafts last year with a $30-35 price tag in auctions. Sorry to say, but there is little chance he comes that cheap in 2014.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site, RotobuzzGuy.com, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org